Category Archives: New Brunswick

Groups band together to fight oil exploration on Gulf of St. Lawrence ~ APTN news

July 21st, 2015

July 21, 2015

by Danielle Rochette

APTN National News

Eighteen organizations spread out over four provinces are banding together and calling on the federal government to stop any kind of oil exploration work in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The group sent a letter Tuesday to Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, Fisheries Minister Gail Shea and Minister of Environment Leona Aglukkaq. [See press release here]

“As fisheries representatives active in all parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we are writing to inform you that we will oppose any petroleum development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence without prior consultation and a thorough understanding of the impacts to our seafood industry,” the letter states.

It’s not clear who penned the letter.

The Nutewistoq M’igmawei Mawiomi Secretariat is one of the organizations that is part of the coalition.

The group pointed out that the process that will allow companies to explore for oil, will also allow them to circumvent the environmental or consultation process.

“Given that exploratory drilling has been downgraded to a simple ‘screening exercise,’ which does not necessitate consultation with existing users, we demand that the Old Harry prospect be put to a full review panel as is warranted by public concern under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act” the letter states.

A Mi’kmaq group out of Quebec is already lobbying the Quebec government to put in place a 12-year moratorium on exploration work in the Gulf. [See APTN story here: Nations band together to fight future oil exploration in Gulf of Saint Lawrence]

There is also a coalition made up of environmental groups and First Nation communities fighting any kind of oil work. They’re concerned that thousands of fisheries and tourism jobs will be at stake if there is a spill in the Gulf.

“We would also like to remind the federal government that the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a common body of water and that spills occurring in one area cannot be contained by provincial delineations,” they say in the letter.

The Gulf waters touch five provinces, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Source: Groups band together to fight oil exploration on Gulf of St. Lawrence – APTN National news

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Quebec First Nations take legal action against Belledune oil terminal ~ CBC News

July 8th, 2015

Ask New Brunswick court to quash construction permit issued to Chaleur Terminals Inc., cite failure to consult
CBC News
Jul 07, 2015

Mi’gmaq communities in the Gaspé region have take legal action against the New Brunswick government and Chaleur Terminals Inc., in a bid to halt construction of an oil terminal in Belledune, N.B.

Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation and the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat filed a notice of application with the Court of Queen’s Bench in Campbellton, N.B., on Monday.

They are seeking to quash the approval to construct permit, environmental approval permit and site approval issued to Chaleur Terminals by the New Brunswick Department of Environment earlier this year.

The band and not-for-profit corporation allege the provincial government has breached its “ongoing duty to consult and to seek to reach a reasonable accommodation with the applicants,” according to the court documents.

They want the court to issue an order prohibiting the government from issuing any further permits, approvals or authorizations to Chaleur Terminals “until such time as the province of New Brunswick has fulfilled its obligations to the applicants.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The New Brunswick government and Chaleur Terminals have not yet filed responses with the court.

Sacred duty to protect salmon

Troy Jerome, executive director of the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat, contends the proposed project is in violation of aboriginal title, rights and treaties.

He says his people have a sacred duty to protect the salmon in the Matapedia and Restigouche rivers, along which the oil would be carried in rail cars.

​”Our people here fish salmon. If you look out on the river today, they’re out there fishing salmon. It’s our way of life. We’ve been doing that for thousands of years and we went and [did] what we had to do to defend our way of life in terms of protecting the salmon,” he said.

‘If there’s even one rail tank that spills into that river, it’s a lot more important to us than those 40 jobs.’- Troy Jerome, Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat

“We are one with the salmon. So the salmon [are] looking to us to protect them, and they provide us nourishment, so we have that kind of relationship, that direct relationship. And Chaleur Terminals right now, they’re talking about a couple of jobs, even up to 40 jobs — if there’s even one rail tank that spills into that river, it’s a lot more important to us than those 40 jobs.”

220 rail cars of Alberta oil daily

Chaleur Terminals, a subsidiary of Alberta-based Secure Energy Services, purchased 250 acres from the Port of Belledune last year. It plans to transport Alberta crude oil to Belledune by rail, for marine export abroad.

Construction is expected to start at the end of 2015 or 2016 and take about 18 months. Once complete, the project would see about 220 rail cars carrying oil to Belledune every day.

Jerome says people in the Gaspé area don’t have much faith in CN Railway after upgrades earlier this year caused irreversible damage to the local salmon population, according to anglers.

And he says efforts to discuss the project with the provincial and federal governments have so far not resulted in proper engagement.

In April, CN Railway dumped 6,000 tonnes of rocks on the side of its tracks to prevent erosion — and right into an important salmon breeding ground in the Matapedia River, causing irreversible damage, according to Quebec’s Atlantic Salmon Federation.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) officials have said the rail company didn’t respect its maintenance work permit when it dumped the rocks during an important time in the Atlantic salmon breeding cycle.

A total of 22 municipalities in Quebec have voiced opposition to Chaleur Terminals’ project in Belledune.

Local politicians in New Brunswick, however, have said they welcome the estimated 200 jobs it will create during construction and 40 permanent full-time jobs once it’s in operation.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/quebec-first-nations-take-legal-action-against-belledune-oil-terminal-1.3141269

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Photojournalist’s account of Gulf of Mexico disaster

June 8th, 2013

John Wathen is a photojournalist with the Waterkeeper Alliance. In this video, he presents his footage of the Gulf of Mexico taken immediately after the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout to an audience in New Zealand.

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New Brunswick to join the race to the bottom

May 12th, 2013

We will be following how citizens, organizations, and Indigenous peoples respond to New Brunswick’s intention to enter into the fossil fuel industry’s exploitation of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. NB has plans to approach Ottawa to “negotiate a potentially lucrative offshore accord” says The Telegraph-Journal. Read the article here.

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Tories want offshore agreement

Adam Huras
May 11, 2013
The Telegraph-Journal

FREDERICTON – The Tory government says it wants to search New Brunswick’s waters for potential offshore oil and natural gas deposits and has plans to approach Ottawa to negotiate a potentially lucrative offshore accord.

The government’s newly released blueprint [see page 30] to guide the development of the oil and gas resources says the province has spent the past two years developing a plan to negotiate a Canada-New Brunswick offshore agreement with the federal government.

That work has included a review of the provincial water boundaries.

Government staff has also searched out scientific data from seismic and exploration activities that took place in New Brunswick waters between 1965 and 1985 in efforts to find an existing resource.

Energy Minister Craig Leonard pointed out on Friday that existing onshore petroleum discoveries extend from St. Stephen and fan out in a “V” shape running along the southern coast of the province’s east and then as far north as Miramichi.

“That might extend out into the ocean,” Leonard said. “The issue that we’ve got now is that we do not have an offshore accord with the federal government unlike the provinces around us.

“There are some spots that companies in those provinces are looking at that are actually very close to the New Brunswick boundary.” In 1985, the federal government and Newfoundland signed the Atlantic Accord, an agreement reached in 1985 to manage offshore oil and gas resources in the waters next to that province.

That name was also used to describe a 2005 cash transfer agreement between Ottawa and both Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

The agreement allows the two provinces to keep energy revenues that would otherwise be subtracted from its equalization payments from the federal government.

Nova Scotia has received $867 million – the value of exempting energy revenues from equalization – over eight years under the agreement. The accord has meant roughly $5 billion to Newfoundland.

Quebec has its own separate, lucrative deal.

New Brunswick’s offshore areas comprise approximately 2.3 million hectares, or 24 per cent of the province’s total onshore and offshore area of 9.6 million hectares, according to government.

Leonard said existing seismic and exploration data completed decades ago can now be reviewed and reprocessed with new technology to get a better sense of any resources that could be there.

Seismic testing data has been collected in the past from the Northumberland Strait, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Bay of Fundy.

“The offshore may contain significant oil and natural gas reserves,” reads the blueprint document.

“Successful exploration, development and production is now taking place in the offshore of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, under federal/provincial offshore accords with those provinces, with the potential for the same in Quebec’s offshore.

“Due to New Brunswick’s geographical proximity to current potential development, negotiating a similar offshore accord is therefore in the best interests of the province.” The province wants to see New Brunswick as the “principal beneficiary” of its offshore petroleum resources in any agreement with the federal government.

“We feel it is prudent to take the steps to get an accord put in place,” Leonard said.”Not only does it protect us for future benefits or royalties and development revenues, but also that there is a strong regulatory framework set up in our territory that has strong environmental and social protections.” Energy consultations held in 2011 headed by co-chairmen Jeannot Volpe and Bill Thompson resulted in a recommendation to government for an offshore oil and gas agreement with the federal government.

In an initial energy blueprint released by government the same year, a single sentence stated the province would be seeking to resume discussion with Ottawa toward a joint offshore management regime.

The new blueprint states that a first phase to better understanding the province’s offshore resource will be by “maximizing the benefits of existing geophysical exploration well data, seismic, and other geological information.” New Brunswick will also seek to partner with the Natural Resources Canada and the Geological Survey of Canada, which could result in the collection of additional seismic and geophysical data in New Brunswick’s offshore areas, according to Leonard.

The energy minister said talks with the federal government are in their infancy, but that they are something New Brunswick plans to dedicate staff to and pursue.

“They seem open to the concept because they would like to see set rules in place in the entire area as well,” Leonard said.”It could be a prolonged discussion, or it could be something that could be done relatively quickly.”

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